ESFD gets its own Fire Safety House for teaching

Thursday, September 7, 2006
Eureka Springs Fire Department personnel Jed Bullock, Nick Samac, Fire Chief David Stoppel and Billy Summers stand outside the smoking Fire Safety House the department just received with a FEMA grant of $38,000. The city's share of the 90-10 grant was $3,800. The department plans to use the house during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-13. Kathryn Lucariello / Carroll County News

EUREKA SPRINGS -- The Eureka Springs Fire Department is excited about its newest purchase: a Fire Safety House to teach fire prevention and rescue strategies to area kids.

Eureka Springs is the second department in Carroll County to get the teaching trailer. Nick Samac was able to secure a 90-10 matching grant from FEMA and the U.S. Fire Administration for $38,000.

The trailer is designed as an educational structure but can also serve as a mobile command center, said Samac, who realized the need for a Fire Safety House. Prior to the county getting its own unit, the department was only able to borrow a unit from the Arkansas Children's Hospital. Demand was so high for the unit during the annual Fire Prevention Week that Eureka Spings saw the necessity of having its own unit.

"Part of the agreement for the grant is that it be made available to other departments in the county as well," Samac said. "Children all over the county will benefit."

The trailer has inside stadium seating that can accommodate around 20 children. A stove with red-light glowing burners and a revolving saucepan teaches kids to turn pan lids inward.

The trailer is wired for video and sound, and a window opens out through which people outside can watch fire safety videos.

The trailer is equipped with smoke alarms to teach kids what they sound like. Of course, the house produces smoke from a vegetable-based product to teach kids to stay low during a fire. A door closes off a mock-bedroom, and the door itself heats to 110 degrees to show kids how to feel for heat (with the back of the hand, not the palm).

There are ladders at windows and doors for escape routes. A ramp can be attached for people in wheelchairs to enter. An outdoor jack can be hooked up to teach kids how to call 911 in an emergency.

As a mobile command center, the unit is wired for antennas and working phone lines. It is set up to rehabilitate people suffering from smoke inhalation or heat exhaustion.

Samac said the department is planning to use the Fire Safety House to teach during upcoming Fire Prevention Week Oct. 9-13. They will be taking it to Eureka Springs Elementary School and also contacting the Academy of Excellence and Clear Spring School for training their children.

"This is something we can use every year," Samac said. "If it saves even one kid's life, it's worth it."

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